America's Oldest Christian Music Festival Fighting for Survival

Kentucky’s Annual Ichthus Music Festival hopes to see a 43rd year after falling on hard times, according to Ichthus Ministries CEO Mark Vermillion.

Ichthus is America’s first Christian music festival, which started as a “reaction to Woodstock,” according to Vermillion.

The CEO has told The Christian Post that the ministry is doing everything in its power to keep the festival afloat, after it began to have problems affording its 110-acre site that the festival needs each year. They are now trying to sell the site to make ends meet.

The festival has been losing money for the past six years.

Vermillion attributes the monetary issues to rising gas prices, stating that at one time, fans would flock from all parts of the country to attend the festival. But now, some simply cannot afford it anymore due to higher fuel costs.

He also stated that new one-day Christian music festivals are popping up all over the country. So those who would regularly attend Ichthus now have more convenient options to get their Christian music fix.

Ichthus is currently in real estate negotiations in order to sell the property and lease it once a year for the festival, according to Vermillion.

Aside from that, the CEO recently told CNN that lay-offs and expense cutting was not enough to meet the costs of the sites mortgage, insurance and maintenance on the property.

They also offered one-day tickets to fans, but that did not help them reach their peak attendance of 25,000.

According to Vermillion, a little over 15,000 people now show up to the Ichthus Music Festival.

The ministry is now asking for direct donations in order to help the festival see a showing in 2012.

Ichthus includes all genres of music: hip hop, worship, Christian contemporary, rock and hardcore.

The festival’s destiny depends on what happens in the next few months, according to Vermillion.